"I don't want to ever, ever do something in life that isn't fun. Ever." -- Fun-loving actress Jennifer Love Hewitt, in the February Cosmopolitan.
Hipness quiz: It was about zero degrees. Yet the line for tickets stretched out the door, as fans waited, stamping their feet. Whom were we waiting to see? 1) The Backstreet Boys at Marine Midland Arena. 2) The Grateful Dead, back when they played Rich Stadium. 3) Bruce Springsteen at the Arena. 4) Stephen Manes, chair of the University at Buffalo Music Department, playing Beethoven sonatas at Slee Hall. Did someone say No. 4? We have a winner! Saturday was a mob scene. The hall was jammed. Programs ran out. And even more startling: Eminent bassist Dave Holland is coming to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery on Feb. 6 -- and the show is already sold out! "This is jazz! I should be begging people!" marvels promoter Bruce Eaton. What happened to Buffalo being a blue-collar town?
OK, we still do see reminders of traditional Buffalo. Take last weekend's Buffalo Philharmonic concert, which illustrated the further blurring of the line that separates Kleinhans Music Hall from TGIFriday's. First of all, an usher said "Yous." "Can yous move away from the door, please?" she asked us. Next, we couldn't help noticing that people eschewed the coat check to toss their coats not only on seats but over railings as well. (Trivia time: In Europe, you have to check your coat. Taking it to your seat just isn't done.) Half the coats seemed to be Sabres jackets. Which reminds us: Before the BPO began to play, an unseen voice blared over the hall, broadcasting announcements. Just like at a hockey game!
"The Beauty Queen of Leenane," now playing at Studio Arena Theatre, stars actress Zoaunne LeRoy as (in the tactful words of Studio's Constance McEwen), "a great pain-in-the-Irish-backside mother." Aging and manipulative, LeRoy's character is hard on her daughter, and their days in Ireland's County Galway are spent in bickering and misery. It's a tough part. But then LeRoy is one tough cookie. Back in the '40s, we've learned, she was part of a vaudeville mother-daughter team. LeRoy bleached her hair, and she and her mom played burlesque houses up and down the West Coast. On one gig, the duo shared the stage with country singer Spade Cooley, who was later imprisoned for beating his wife. Discussing Cooley's flaw, LeRoy shrugs. "What did I care?" she says. "He was always nice to me." True to character! Can we get her back sometime to play the mother in "Over the Tavern"?
The world is talking about Buffalo. Not always in a flattering tone, but at least they're talking. First, there was Dan Dakich, men's basketball coach from Bowling Green, Ohio, lamenting that for his team, there are no easy wins. "Save Buffalo," he added, "and even that's not easy up there." (That made quote of the day in the Spectrum, UB's student paper.) Meanwhile, in the January issue of Vogue, '70s cover girl Beverly Johnson recalls her days at Boston's Northeastern University, where desperation led her to modeling. "I lost my job at the YWCA teaching swimming, which was devastating because I didn't want to go home and work at the Y in Buffalo," she said. We've got to remember, there's no such thing as bad publicity.
Be part of history! Join the live audience Saturday when jazz legend Al Tinney records a live CD with his trio and singer Peggy Farrell. The recording starts at 9 p.m. at Fanny's Restaurant, 3500 Sheridan Dr., Amherst. ... Today's Mozart's birthday! And because we can't listen to WNED-FM on account of that pesky membership drive, toast the composer at Slee Hall Saturday at 8 p.m., when Manes joins the Buffalo Philharmonic for an all-Mozart program. Maybe the police should be there to direct traffic.